East Sussex College exhibition rescued by Star Brewery Gallery

The Star Brewery Gallery exhibition website has come to the rescue of the art and design students at East Sussex College in Lewes when their end of year shows faced cancellation due to the Coronavirus restrictions.

Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 8:30 am
STAR BREWERY Menna Evans - First year
STAR BREWERY Menna Evans - First year

Traditionally these shows are the main focus of the academic year and are an exciting time for students, parents and staff.

For Andrew Williamson, the head of the college’s creative curriculum, which includes music, performing arts, media and art & design, this was a huge relief.

“We are really, really pleased that we've got this opportunity to work with Neeta Pedersen and the Star Brewery Gallery. It’s a real-life saver.

“If this hadn't happened, it would be an absolute disaster for the students as there would be no chance for them to exhibit a year’s worth of work. It would be as if their whole world had been ripped out from underneath their feet.”

“I am delighted to be able to host the students’ work” says gallery director Neeta Pedersen, “as it is an important part of our remit to serve the local community’

“In the last couple of months since I was forced to abandon my plans to open the gallery due to the virus, I have worked hard to present a range of interesting exhibitions on-line that have proved extremely popular with both artists and art lovers alike. I am sure that our showcase of the students’ work will be enthusiastically received.”

The show is going to consist of a series of three exhibitions over a two–week period beginning with the work of the first and second year fine arts students which will be mostly painting, drawing and printmaking. This will be followed with a showcase of graphic design work and completed with a show of textile designs and fashion garments and outfits.

Mr Williamson said that the exhibition would show that his students have carried on being creative through the lockdown.

“We know that there's a lot of young people, including some of our students who are suffering with depression because of the isolation and lack motivation they feel since they are cut off and unable to get on with their lives. They've lost some of the sense of purpose that the normal year would give.

“Under these circumstances, what we've tried to offer our students is daily contact, encouraging them to keep on working and being creative so that they can externalise their feelings and show other people what they can do. This also helps to give them a positive mindset about living their lives in a creative way so they can express themselves to the world.

Despite the many additional difficulties caused by the shutdown, Mr Williamson is very upbeat about the future of Lewes College.

“We’re very lucky that the staff we've got at the college are really highly skilled specialists. For instance, last year we got our highest-ever grades for A-Level graphic design. Our new head of graphics has expanded the course into to whole new areas of design and illustration which we haven’t had before. As a result, we've gone up and up and up in the ranks so that’s a massive success story for us

“We’ve got some really exciting fashion and textile teachers that have also expanded their course so that you can go all the way from working with materials in a very fine art self-expressive style right the way through to professional dress making, producing outfits and staging fashion displays.

The Star Brewery Gallery’s exhibition of student work will run from the June 15-29.